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January 2015

Sheila Bugler - The Waiting Game

"The cliffhanging denouement suggests that there is sure to be another book in the DI Kelly series, and I for one will be reading it."

Chloe Dunbar's claims that someone keeps breaking into her house while she sleeps, and that the police don't take her claims seriously. Then someone not only breaks in, but attacks her. In a news story compiled by an unscrupulous reporter, she blames her ex, Ricky. And in the subsequent report, the reporter implies that the team led by DI Ellen Kelly isn't doing its job properly. But Ricky has a cast iron alibi for the night of the attack, and the police have no leads. Kelly has her own problems to deal with. Her husband, Vinnie, was murdered five years ago, and Kelly took the law into her own hands in retaliation (see the first book in the series, 'Hunting Shadows'). Now she's back on the job, but still working under a cloud. Not only that, she realises that she has feelings for a man called Jim O'Dwyer, and is confused, especially as her two children seem to want the two of them to get together.

A woman called Monica complicates matters further, when she too claims that someone has been breaking into her house while she sleeps. Kelly surmises that these are copycat claims, based on the newspaper report, but when Monica mentions some things about the break-ins that were not in the report, Kelly has to take notice. Then people start getting murdered, and things get complicated. Do O'Dwyer and Monica know each other? Did Monica know Chloe? And who is Annie?

Lewisham and Greenwich are not areas of London I know well. But I could get around fairly easily using this book as a guide, as Bugler has obviously done her research well.

DI Ellen Kelly is a complicated character. Like most of us, she is a mix of thoughtfulness and caution who sometimes resorts to knee-jerk reactions. Occasionally she puts revenge above justice, which has got her into trouble in the past, and she holds grudges. But mostly she puts people first, and is dedicated to her job and to her children. The story sometimes takes us into Kent, and her descriptions of the coastline and its ambience near Whitstable are convincing and plausible. The plot is complicated, but always understandable. However, some of the printed news stories that are reproduced in the book would never, in real life, get past a newspaper's lawyer. But that's a small point, and doesn't detract from the enjoyment of reading the book. The main 'villain' in this book has all the makings of becoming Kelly's 'Moriarty'. The cliffhanging denouement suggests that there is sure to be another book in the DI Kelly series, and I for one will be reading it. Brilliant.

Reviewed by: J.G.

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